WATCH: Minister hints at second referendum if Commons chucks Chequers
PUBLISHED: 12:29 19 September 2018 | UPDATED: 14:26 19 September 2018
A Treasury minister has suggested there is a possibility of a second EU referendum if Theresa May's Chequers proposals are rejected by the House of Commons.
Mel Stride said that fear of a second poll would bring rebellious Brexiteers into line when MPs come to vote on any deal, while Tory Remainers would back Chequers to avoid a no-deal outcome.
The economic secretary to the Treasury told Sky News' All Out Politics: "When we have a firm deal on the table, I suspect that those to the right of the party - the pro-Brexit wing - will be very concerned that if that deal does not prevail, they will end up in the situation where we could have a second referendum or we could end up not leaving the EU altogether, so there is a danger of that happening if Chequers does not prevail.
"I think those on the other end of the spectrum will equally be very concerned that if Chequers does not prevail, we could end up in a no-deal situation."
Labour MP Tulip Siddiq, a champion of the anti-Brexit campaign group Better for Britain, said: "This is one small step for the minister but a giant stride for our campaign to deliver a people's vote.
"After weeks of denying the obvious, a senior minister has let the cat out of the bag. The government know that if their deal is voted down the only way out of this mess is a people's vote.
"Mel Stride is the first minister to admit a fresh referendum is possible and it is now clear that the public deserve a final say on the Brexit deal."
Stride's comments come on the day Theresa May gave an interview to the Daily Express in which she restated her opposition to allowing a vote on the final Brexit deal.
She said: "When the referendum took place, we gave people the opportunity to make a choice. They made that choice. If we as politicians want people to trust us, then we have to deliver for them on that.
"This was probably the biggest exercise in democracy in our country’s history. If we were to go back on that vote, it would destroy trust in politicians.
"The parliamentary vote to give the choice to the people wasn’t a close run thing, a five to one or six to one vote to say to the public it’s your choice."
People "weren’t saying it’s the choice of the public except if we disagree with the answer we’ll ask them again", the prime minister insisted.
"It was the public’s choice. My answer to the People’s Vote is that we’ve had the people’s vote – it was the referendum – and now we should deliver on it."
Conservative former Brexit Secretary David Davis, asked how likely a second referendum would be if Parliament willed it, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme today: "Pretty unlikely because most people understand to announce a second referendum would be to invite the European Union to give us the worst deal possible in order to persuade us to stay in.
"That's the consequence of a second referendum and is why it's a very bad idea - it's completely against the national interest."
The ruling Labour group at Hounslow Council has agreed to support a motion pushing for a People's Vote on the final Brexit deal - with an option to remain in the EU - and urging Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to support it.